Firefox beats Internet Explorer 6 in popularity

Web developers rejoice: more people are now browsing the web using Firefox than Internet Explorer 6, according to Net Applications figures quoted by Ars Technica. The data show Firefox commanded 24.1% of the market last month, compared to 23.3% for IE6. (In September, the same two browsers had 23.8% and 24.4% market shares, respectively.)

Of course, IE6 is growing long in the tooth—even downright senile by modern standards. Microsoft first introduced that browser in August 2001, and it's since released Internet Explorer 7 and 8. However, the Net Applications market share numbers show IE6 remains the single most popular version of the browser: version 7 only has 18.6% of the market, while IE8 commands around 20.5%.

In case you're wondering, Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome both resided around the 4% mark in terms of usage share in October, and Opera barely got over 2%. So, until last month, IE6 was the single most popular browser on average. Progress is great, isn't it?

That said, Net Applications' numbers cover 160 million visitors across a broad pool of websites each month. Market share numbers look a tad different for sites that draw in more tech-savvy folks: Ars, for instance, says only 19% of its readers run Internet Explorer, while most of the rest run either Firefox or Safari. TR, too, sees more visits from Firefox users than IE users overall.

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